More than $2.3 million in impact fees paid by Marcellus Shale drilling companies will benefit residents of the 63rd state House District, either through direct disbursements to municipalities or to the counties at large, said state Rep. Donna Oberlander.

For the reporting year of 2018, natural gas producers paid more than $240 million in impact fees statewide, for a total of nearly $1.7 billion over the past eight years.

"Drilling activity has rebounded within the last year, as evidenced by the higher impact fee amount paid in 2018," said Oberlander. "The amount paid reached the highest level since Act 13 was adopted in 2012. This is clear proof that this industry is paying its fair share to assist communities with the impacts created by drilling."

Within the 63rd District, the following impact fee disbursements were announced:

-- Clarion County municipalities - $207,490

-- Armstrong County municipalities - $359,880

-- Forest County municipalities - $11,667

Additionally, the following counties will receive proceeds through the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which is designed to be used for environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects:

-- Clarion County - $158,572

-- Forest County - $62,557

-- Armstrong County - $1,502,740

"The natural gas industry has been a tremendous economic generator in western Pennsylvania, and it will be for years to come, thanks to the Shell ethane cracker plant," Oberlander. "The natural gas already in our region has the potential to make Pennsylvania a worldwide energy leader, with both direct and indirect economic and employment opportunities."

The Public Utility Commission, which is the state agency charged with collecting the fee, said this year's distribution is about $33.4 million higher than last year, driven primarily by an increase in the number of Pennsylvania wells paying impact fees for this year (9,560 compared to 8,518 last year). The price of natural gas has remained relatively constant over the past year.

The disbursements to municipalities and counties were announced Thursday, and checks to municipalities are expected to be sent out in early July.

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